GOTY 2019 & GOTD 2010-2019 - Full results on Page 1
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  • Game of the Year 2019 Results

    The B&B GOTY 2019 is:

    Sekiro (29)

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    Sekiro! The game where the creators of Dark Souls and Bloodborne finally became a parody of themselves. Sweep through entire chunks of old Japan in minutes, cutting down enemies with skill and grace. Then spend two hours getting pounded into dust by a giant ape. Carefully observe the custom of offering someone outside for a fight, lest you get fucked by the camera getting stuck in a wall. Scour every hidden nook and cranny for items you’ll immediately forget to use.

    Or, enjoy some of the most clinical, satisfying sword combat you’re ever likely to find in a game. Explore some stunning environments. Run around the roof tops like a proper ninja. Finally kill that fucking ape and punch the air. Oh wait, he’s not really dead. Time to learn another phase. Joke’s on you, loser.

    What you said:

    hylian_elf: “An epic game full of wonderful combat and fights, amazing bosses, great audiovisuals that help create a convincing setting and characters and story. Some slight issues with camera in tight spaces and a couple of the bosses can seem tough and frustrating until you realise that it’s you who is shit and you figure it out, but otherwise faultless. [10]”

    Djornson: “It's great but i dont love it like i love souls/bloodborne. Still, #4 ain't bad.”

    Tempy: “It's the samurai fantasy game I wanted. From goes faster than Bloorborne, and far leaner. Combat is a dream, parrying is as satisfying if not more so than it is in Revengeance. Stick enough time into it and it becomes second nature, and you get to cut through wonderfully rendered folklore monsters in a hazy, dreamlike rendition of Japan on the cusp of upheaval.”

    In joint 2nd place:
     
    Control (18)

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    Control, a game that gives you the power to control things. Which all games do, but not usually quite as much. It’s more like Control+ or Control Extra. Basically you can move objects with the power of your mind and then do really interesting things with them, like throw them at people’s heads. Mostly just that, actually. But everything’s also really weird – floating people speaking gibberish, twisty corridors, an evil narcissistic fridge, a single-digit frame rate. That sort of thing. Spooky.

    What you said:

    trippy: “I've dragged myself through a fair few big name games in the last year or so (hello Days Gone) and this is like a breath of fresh air in comparison. It's atmospherically unique with some great touches and also a really satisfying shooter. 

    There are some difficulty spikes but the art design is brilliant and the way it plays with scale, symmetry and shape is something too few games experiment with. It's pleasantly surreal and genuinely funny at points, and the pacing is great, with stretches of calm between battles. And it's beautiful, too.

    Like Noita, the physics are a generation ahead of most games and mesmerising. You can grab and throw the world at any point, and it's incredibly freeing. I'm not a massive fan of shooters but once Control clicks you have the freedom to pull off some impressive moves, instinctively taking to the sky to hurl a filling cabinet at a goon. It's all very empowering, and surveying the wreckage afterwards is extremely satisfying.  I suspect I'll be firing it up for months to come, just to break some chairs.”

    MattyJ: “Really great game all round. The overall unsettling weirdness of what's going on in the building, coupled with it just looking like a standard office space (for the most part) is excellent. The writing, in particular the documents, videos etc you find around the place, is well done and manages to mix the mundane with the weird.

    The controls, graphics and sound are all top notch. The drip of powers you get mean you genuinely powerful as time goes on, wreaking havoc, destroying the place as you go.

    My only criticism is the ending, which kind of fizzled out for me rather than being particularly satisfying, but it didn't detract from the rest.”

    stormyskiesahead: “Was debating putting this on here tbh, but I'm sure the issues I was having throughout my broken-up playthrough were my issues, not the game's. When I was feeling it, damn, it felt (and looked) good.”

    Tempy: “House of Leaves comes to life as a Sam Lake shooter with a heavy dose of SCP and a light smattering of Twin Peaks. Physics flexing combat and inspired minimalist environments come together to make something that feels as familiar as it is unique. Only issue is it doesn't last quite as long as it could.”

    Untitled Goose Game (18)

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    The name’s a bit misleading, in that it actually does have a title (it's ironic, see?). Also, it’s not much of a game. It does have a goose in it though, unless that’s just a large duck, but we’ll give it the benefit of the doubt. Whatever. It’s that thing that taught us what we already knew – that being a complete dickhead is fun, if you can get away with it, and if no one gets hurt except some stupid rural English stereotypes. They probably all voted for Brexit anyway. The pricks.

    What you said:

    Djornson: “The first time the kids watched me play a game, understood exactly what was happening AND were happy to watch and encourage and laugh along without whining for a go themselves. I loved how my motive wasn't clear but i embraced being a pain in the ass goose. Perhaps geese are that much of a pain in the ass it does sometimes seem like they have some higher calling.”

    trippy: “It's a wee bit shonky but it deserves to be here purely for the way it makes my children laugh. And the amazing ending. HONK.”


    In joint 4th place:

    Apex Legends (16)

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    Yes, it’s Apex Legends, which from most of the screen shots I’ve just looked at appears to be a game about people posing in colourful outfits. Probably with attitude. I think there’s some shooting involved as well. A bit like Overwatch or Fortnite or something like that. People like those too, I hear. Fortunately, some of you lot wrote about it:

    What you said:

    Djornson: “Got me back into Multiplayer for a while, really great stuff.”

    regmcfly: “Dung-Dung-Dung-Duuunngg - that four chord landing theme has been my go-to-melody this year. Apex feels perfect. The mechanics of moving around, of sliding, of reloading, and generally working your way around the terrain are all remarkable, and speak to a team with considerable experience in dealing with first person mechanics. The squad options (although all you need is Pathfinder) are deep and varied, and Respawn even managed to expand upon these with their season 2 character launches. The game does not feel absolutely bogged down in the 'you must buy' mechanics that other games have, and every game feels 'fair'. It's my fault when I disengage from my team, it's their fault when they don't spot the shotgunner behind the door. It's a frankly incredibly distillation of the Battle Royale format, and to be given it for 'free' is even more ludicrous. I can't want to see where it goes next - Tomorrow is in their hands (I'm SORRY).”

    MattyJ: “Talk about making your mark in competitive gaming. Came out of nowhere and changed everything. The ping system is phenomena, making it genuinely possible for me to play with strangers and not feel like I need to talk to succeed. Had several victories with strangers and they felt great.

    Updated throughout as well with good community engagement. Can't help but feel many games will be trying to emulate this for years (fortnite already added ping).”

    stormyskiesahead: “Apex Legends - 500+ hours sunk on this so far and I'd be very surprised if I don't sink another 500 this year. Apex fixed so many of the issues I had with BR in general, and a good few others I didn't realise I had 'til they pointed 'em out. The quirky cast are fantastic and their unique abilities are almost perfectly balanced with the gunplay. Speaking of which, that gunplay is sublime, as is the movement. My only real issue is that I don't much care for the current map, but that's not because it's bad or anything, it just doesn't suit my playstyle. Anyhoo, Apex is my favourite BR by far, and the most fun I've had with a new game this year. Just bring back King's Canyon for good, okay Respawn?”

    Resident Evil 2 (16)

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    Ah, this is more like it. A tarted up old game that we all know and love, because let’s face it, people would rather have that than an actual new game with new ideas. Yes, Capcom, we would. Well, at least if you’re going to do this good a job of it.

    What we said:

    regmcfly: “Right at the time when we were in the worst of the above January stuff with regards to babies, one Sunday morning, I got a message from Elm that I had been gifted a copy of Resident Evil 2 on XBox. Being in a naturally fragile state I burst into tears and was obviously ridiculously grateful. January became a time when I retreated into the past, playing games that instilled nostalgia and reminded me of positive memories. Resident Evil 2 felt like the Bridge (Baby) for this (yes, I can't stop thinking about Death Stranding.) It has always been my favourite in the series, and on previous consoles, I could run it without even thinking. But this remake added so many interesting elements, not least making Mr. X into a real force of nature, something not even Nemesis managed. It's a fantastic version of how to update a game. I haven't put Link's Awakening on my list, even of to think about games, because it was so faithful, it felt like playing a 1993-ass game again. Resi 2 Remake showed how to take the mechanics of the past and bring them up to date.”

    JonB: “The new benchmark for remake games. It's so clear that the developers have looked at the original in great detail, pulled it apart and understood exactly what to keep, what to improve and what to ditch to make a top-tier modern action game that still respects its source.”

    Tempy: “A really worth remake of a game I never played, but read about obsessively as a kid. It's gorgeous, Mr. X is a great mechanic, and zombies are actually scary again.”

    XOMuggins: “A beautiful melding of the great combat of 4,5 and 6 with the pacing and puzzles of the original games. Gorgeous to look at, really very scary and so damn satisfying. My only gripe would be it's a *little* bit too hard for me, which has stopped me doing a second or third playthrough. I am positive though that it is my game of 2019.”

    In 6th place:

    Disco Elysium (15)

    What you said:

    stormyskiesahead “Good enough that I bought a proper copy to play after already playing through once with a somewhat dodgy copy. Just wanna drown in this world.”

    In 7th place:

    Astral Chain (14)

    What we said:

    hylian_elf: “Slow start but once this got going and you unlock some abilities and skills, the combat is good Platinum stuff as always. The mix of styles is good and works really well. Not the best example of each genre it puts into the mix, but the overall game is far better than the sum of its parts. [9]”

    JonB: “Platinum at its best. Finding a new twist on those peerless combat mechanics and building a comprehensive future cop simulator around them. The genius is in how it ties the chain and the legions into everything you do, from rescuing cats to battling enormous trans-dimensional beasts.”

    In 8th place:

    The Outer Wilds (13)

    What you said:

    Moot_Geeza: “Not to be confused with The Outer Worlds, despite the fact that it looks like both sets of developers did precisely that when naming their wares.  A truly remarkable gaming experience that deserves to be pushed into the limelight when the end of year lists appear.  Part of the reason I'm typing this in my pants at home is the fact that I was up playing it at 3am and I've ended up chucking a good old fashioned sickie.  

    Taking elements of the narrative FPS types (I'm fed up with referring to them as 'walking sims'), Majora's Mask and No Man's Sky, it's a laid back intergalactic episode of Treasure Hunt where information gradually gleaned through exploration is key to unravelling the mysteries of the solar system.  I've admired NMS from afar, but I'd rather inhale infinite helmetfulls of specefarts than actually participate in its proc gen quintillion worlds shtick.  Despite having no desire to play it, it's one of those games that makes me wish I wasn't me so I'd have a chance of enjoying it, y'know?  Enter The Outer Wilds, which is meticulously designed to within an inch of its life.  It only contains a handful of planets, each of which contains pertinent information that can be discovered in an order decided by the player.  The information gradually makes sense of the interplanetary goings on and will eventually guide you toward the endgame.  Here's the rub: playtime exists in a 22-minute loop, where everything you've interacted with resets once the sun goes supernova.  The ship's log acts as Guy Pearce's chest, thankfully, so every tidbit you discover is locked into your on-board computer.  There's very little hand holding so it was more than a little overwhelming for me at first, given that I usually focus on games that could be labelled 'Action' on the corner of a Master System cart.  The controls keep it grounded to an extent; it's a game I enjoyed playing but the fundamentals aren't much cop - it's a first person narrative type with added manoeuvrability, so the mechanics won't win prizes - but that's not why you'll take this particular trip and it's all fit for purpose.  

    I don't want to reveal any more of its workings and intricacies as discovery is key to the experience, but at the same time I feel like a few paragraphs doesn't bang the drum enough.  Top tier indie gaming, credits have rolled and it's still in my head [8]”

    Tempy: “A beautiful cosmic puzzle box. A solar system trapped in amber, tasking you as the scientists to unpick its mysteries through hypothesis and trial. As incredibly inventive as it is evocative, and exactly as frustrating as it needs to be to give it enough friction.”

    In joint 9th place:

    Ape Out (12)

    What you said:

    stormyskiesahead: “Looks amazing, sounds amazing. Played every single session sporting a huge grin.”

    monkey: “Piss.” 

    Fire Emblem: Three Houses (12)

    What you said:
    regmcfly: “As we worked through the year, we became more fixated on ensuring we had a good Summer holiday (we did - which helped) but I became fixated on the release of Fire Emblem. I became a relatively late convert to the series, only starting with Awakening, but I have really loved the emphasis on creating bonds (strands? no) between  characters and also the sheer brutality of the combat model. Whilst I still believe that Awakening (you never forget your first time) was the most pure / efficient of the ones I have played (Awakening / Fates / Echoes / This) the concept of basically being a lecturer in Harry Potter town was one that really engrossed me. I've played through it twice, and need to see the trifecta out, but I was shocked the second time about seeing the impact my taking time in lectures had on the durability of my gang. It's a damn fun game that looks at the same concept from three perspectives - objectively, subjectively and shit-headedly - and it's an absolute blast.”

    These are the results for positions 11-44 (with point totals in brackets):

    Heave Ho! (10)

    Ace Combat 7 (10)

    Wreckfest (9)

    Baba Is You (9)

    Lonely Mountains Downhill (8)

    Slay the Spire (7)

    Mario Maker 2 (7)

    Zelda: Link's Awakening (7)

    Pistol Whip (7)

    Metro Exodus (6)

    Gears 5 (5)

    Noita (5)

    DMC 5 (4)

    Supermarket Shriek (4)

    Hypnospace Outlaw (4)

    Borderlands 3 (4)

    Crackdown 3 (4)

    The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets (4)

    Luigi's Mansion 3 (4)

    Ring Fit (4)

    The Touryst (3)

    Outer Worlds (3)

    Vader Immortal (3)

    Shovel Knight: King of Cards (2)

    Tetris 99 (2)

    Cadence of Hyrule (2)

    Mechstermination Force (2)

    Arise: A Simple Story (2)

    Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order (2)

    Katana Zero (2)

    Mortal Kombat 11 (2)

    Sayonara Wild Hearts (1)

    Dragon Quest XI (1)

    A Short Hike (1)
  • Game of the Decade 2010-2019 Results

    The winner and Game of the Decade for the B&B (and everywhere else):

    151 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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    What you said:

    hylian_elf: “Whilst at first I was disappointed with the lack of traditional dungeons and what seemed like a samey environment, I soon leaned to love the world and just wandering around and exploring. Losing myself in the world and just living it, taking my time to take every corner of the map in and absorbing my surroundings. It didn’t take that long to become my greatest game and I forgive it’s shortcomings. I could wander around forever. Obviously the actual gameplay is great too. The dungeons are decent, there are some fantastic well-designed and ingenious shrines, plenty of collectibles and secrets and side quests, good combat, and so much scope for improvising and experimenting with the inventory and play mechanics. It helps that it’s also and absolutely beautiful game in both sound and visuals. All this makes the overall package the best game ever.”

    XOMuggins: “Easily the best Zelda game I've played, and probably the best work that Nintendo have ever done. Like Red Dead II, the world rewards the player at every turn in their exploration. My only gripe would be that the story isn't up to the standards of Wind Waker/Link to the Past, but that hardly matters when the rest of the game is so incredibly good.”

    In 2nd place:

    105 Dark Souls

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    What you said:

    Djornson: “Greeted by a mysterious, opaque and cruel world you muddle your way through wondering if its for you. Then you climb the Undead Burg and come out the other side and then you're part of the world, you embrace it's darkness, you find it's story through cryptic item descriptions, while naked you breeze through bosses that killed you 50 times in a row on your last playthrough. That moment you first see Anor London.”

    hunk: “Praise the Sun! Miyazaki's second attempt at fleshing out a creation myth and it is epic.
    Fantastic world- and lore building without shoving it overtly in the players face. The rpg battle mechanics are just as solid giving the game an unexpected and unprecedented depth. The online mp is the icing on the cake.”

    acemuzzy: “Demon's Souls (released in 2009, as PS3 exclusive) was somewhat of a sleeper hit - a cult following, grown by word of mouth, that never totally mushroomed in success.  Its successor, Dark Souls (now multi-platform), took that starting point, and refined its ingredients into a genre-creating masterpiece that's impact has been felt far and wide.

    'Souls-like', an adjective disliked by many, has its roots here of course - though games with that tag rarely achieve its coiner's lofty heights. Bonfires, reclaiming lost souls after death by returning to the place of your last breath, MP-light with invasions, subtle unspoken narrative, relentless skill and determination required to get through - there have been two direct sequels, two mutant offspring (Bloorborne and Sekiro), and many copies both 3D (Lords of the Fallen, Remnant, even Fallen Order, ...) and 2D (Salt & Sanctuary, Hollow Knight, ...) - some great in their own right, but all with thanks to pay.

    And beyond that is the artistry of the game itself - inter-woven paths, total discretion of how to proceed through it; obscene difficulty to some yet hitless speedruns to others; music and vistas; NPCs that remain with you in the real world. It may not be perfect (Bed of Chaos, I hear you), but then what truly is, and this is surely as most as any can reasonably expect to get. Not for all, perhaps, but to those who ‘git gud’ and see it through, it’s oh the journey, and one that's likely then trodden more than once.”

    Frosty: “I hated Dark Souls when I first started it. That slow run through the Undead Burg to the Taurus Demon was a nightmare that I had to repeat over and over, each time getting more frustrated at the same repeated trash fights that would kill me as soon as I tried to rush through them. It wasn’t the best start but once it clicked, once the world started to open up and show me it’s many shortcuts and secrets, and once I’d rewired my brain away from the expectations that 20 years of third person action games had taught me, started to love it. It was all I could think about for weeks and is something I still think about today. No game world has had such a presence or felt like a real lived place since.”

    Facewon: “I realise we're into an era of post-meta analysis of the meta analysis of the analysis of souls games, and that even outside of the refinements From themselves have made to their shtick there's probably an anti-soulslike classic on the way or already here in response, but none of that preamble distracts (at least me) from the brilliance of Dark Souls and how it rejuvenated my enjoyment of gaming in general, but also specifically long form single player gaming.

    We could quibble over missteps here and there with bonfire placement before bosses or other such issues that skewed the punishment for death, but the general balance and ethos was 100% sound. And the mechanics around fighting so generally fair and learnable - in combination with opening up paths metriod style, and/or learning to dodge roll through well worn sections - that the repetition wasn't a chore. Certainly, not on first, or even second playthrough.


    Story and lore was opaque AF, which meant no need to skip cutscenes, minimal need to follow a convoluted plot, just get to a tower in the first instance. And take it from there.

    Like halo, it's tropes had varying degrees of success transposed into other games, but there was a good 2 year span where that game was a near constant joy for me, and others here, both in co-op and in info sharing.”

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    In 3rd place:

    86 Mass Effect 2

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    What I said:

    "What could be a bog standard Star Trek rip-off is elevated by some accomplished squad based cover shooter mechanics and some interesting plot lines and choices that affect major events. But Mass Effect 2 is always the favourite in the series for one reason especially – one of the finest narrative structures an epic adventure game you could hope for. It’s so straightforward: gather together a bunch of highly skilled misfits, earn their respect, then take them on a suicide mission to save the galaxy. It leads to one of the great finales in all of gaming, simply because it gives itself plenty of time to develop these fascinating characters, then puts you in a situation where poor decision making can lead to any of their deaths, even if you emerge victorious. They put their trust in you, can you repay it? Genius."

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    What you said:

    monkey: “The king of action RPGs. Better shooting than any of the other cover shooters around at the time. Plus a layer of amazingly fun powers to dismantle enemies with. Plus a load of different builds you can use. Plus you can order your squad about and use their powers and combine them with yours. Amazing dialogue system in a well-told story. Characters you care about. An imaginative and fully-fleshed out sci-fi universe. Events that you can influence that have reverberations throughout the rest of the game. And it's essentially the Star Trek premise, here's a ship, go explore the galaxy and be a hero. Excellent in all departments.”

    stormyskiesahead: “An epic and wondrous creation. BioWare really were master storytellers. RIP.”


    In 4th place:

    71 Portal 2

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    What you said:

    GurtTractor: “A brilliant journey through a fascinating series of environments, a bit like Half Life 2 in that respect, not many FPSs seem to do that kind of thing anymore. The ending is one of my favourites ever.”

    Tempy: “After covertly introducing the world to Portal via the Orange Box, how do you follow up one of the most delightful puzzlers of all time? Apparently you just do the same years later, but make it longer covetly package in one of the greatest co-op modes of all time too.

    Portal 2 is a rare beast of a game in that its writing is consistently funny and it never aims to make itself stupider just to make the player feel clever. Portals are a mind-bending mechanic and Valve treat them like Mario’s limited moveset - a tool to explore a handful of ideas that are introduced, complexified and adapted before being dropped entirely for the next idea.

    Kudos has to be given to Valve for the loving rendered world as well. It’s a tightly watching the test environments spasm and warp as GLaDOS attempts to put them back to use after years of abandonment. The set pieces are brilliant, and way everything comes together for the finale is something pretty special. It’d still be an excellent game without the voicework, but every performance is brilliant, with a special tip of that hat to J.K. Simmons as Cave Johnson.

    After you’ve finished the main story you’re also in for a treat with the sublime co-op mode. Playing as test robots Atlas and Peabody, you’re subjected to GLaDOS’s gauntlet once again, but this time the designers can rely on you having two bodies and four portals, which means they can level up their trickery to the nth degree, creating one of the most satisfying co-op experiences out there - it’s a rare and wonderful thing and a crime that it’s never been replicated.”

    Djornson: “A rare thing, a genuinely laugh out loud funny game. Portal was a tough act to follow but it takes a slightly different route and does a great job.”

    stormyskiesahead: “As funny as it was creative, and a joy to play.”


    In joint 5th place (two games appropriately bonded in blood):

    61 Bloodborne

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    What you said:

    hylian_elf: “My favourite of the (recent) From games, due mainly to the faster and more polished battle mechanics and a dark non-fantasy setting, and fewer weapons and items and bloat than the Souls games. Some of the best bosses and fights around, and a real challenge, and that together with the lore and atmosphere makes this an utterly unforgettable game.”

    Tempy: “As one of the many barricaded residents of Yharnam utter when you poke your nose into their window, “This town’s finished”. Which is to say, its current form - all steeples and spires grasping skyward - is done with, and you are experiencing an environment of the cusp of change gestating in blood and dreams. What horrors await you through the quickening of the night?

    Bloodborne is FromSoft’s departure from the mournful gothic castles of Dark Souls and into the blood steeped horror of the Victorian era. Gone is the taciturn combat, and in comes trick weaponry, dodges, vicious gunplay, and relentless harrier. Shields engender passivity, but whips and saws eviscerate me. From added more gas to the tank for Sekiro, but the change from Souls left many wrongfooted, but when you get your head around it the demands of the rally system (regain a portion of lost health by hitting your foe) mean you need to succumb to the blood frenzy to stay alive.

    Its story is the best of the bunch, steeped in both body horror and cosmic horror. Its endings are plural and ambiguous, but as with all of Miyazaki’s games you spend your time picking over items and tableaus meant to create the image of a world that is going through something. Unlike Souls, you are front and centre to a happening, one that you get to see occur over your time in there.

    As you shift from dream to reality and back again, you’re never sure what your place is, but there’s rarely time to think whilst you’re in the thick of it - Bloodborne tells you to hunt, and hunt you must or else you’ll end up dead;at least for a while, as you’re cursed to come back and suffer it all again until you put an end to the mysteries of the Old Blood.”

    61 The Last of Us

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    What you said:

    trippy: I'm replaying The Last of Us at the moment and it is still brilliant. Many games claim to channel The Road, but this is the only one that comes close. There's so much light and beauty in the world and the soundtrack. And so much darkness, too.


    The violence always shocks, though it also thrills. On harder difficulties it hangs together perfectly, battles are protracted and tense, different every time. But there's always space between for the characters and story to develop.

    A lot is made of the writing, and for big budget games it's truly a high water mark. But it is the setting that makes it work, there's no dissonance here, it's a brutal world with some remnants of beauty. The sequel has a tough act to follow.

    Diluted Dante: “A game long escort mission, you have to take a teenage girl across a post-apocalyptic wasteland, protecting her from other people and fungus monsters. The world is gorgeous, especially when outside of a city, and the music is brilliant. Just travelling through it was a joy. The voice acting for Joel and Ellie is top notch, making you really care about the characters. The moment of the game for me was the giraffes. It's basically like that bit in Jurassic Park, but with giraffes instead of a brachiosaurus. It wrapped up nicely, and I was unsure about a sequel, but the closer it gets, the more excited I am. Just getting to spend more time with these characters sounds like a wonderful idea.”


    In 7th place:

    57 Super Mario Galaxy 2

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    What you said:

    hylian_elf: “The level designs and the ingenious use of the gravity mechanics make this technically the best Mario game, although I like the original better cos of impact and the hub (I love a good hub). Recently the kids started watching some gameplay videos of the Galaxy games which just reminded me how great these were and how Odyssey was a bit disappointing.”

    XOMuggins: “My favourite Mario game, and I've played them all. Endlessly imaginative, incredibly fun and just a big time celebration of life. Nintendo are missing a big trick in not giving this and 1 an HD remastering!”


    In joint 8th place:

    54 Hollow Knight

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    What you said:

    hylian_elf: “Finally, Super Metroid has a challenger (but not quite there). It only took 25 years to so. Oodles of atmosphere, an intriguing set of weird and wonderful characters, plenty of dark lore. But it’s the sprawling map and how you slowly unravel the world with new abilities, the joy in wandering around, finding secrets, going back to previously inaccessible paths, the satisfying and precise controls and combat: a perfect mix, so polished, and all works so well together.”

    monkey: “Better than I gave it credit for when I first played it. But I appreciate it more now, having digested it a bit. And I deal with a lot of cravings when I see it in my switch library, to go back in to that maze and find more stuff. I think I wanted to plough through a game that was more about careful and meticulous exploration. For my tastes, it's a bit too wedded to its environmental intricacy, narrow meandering channels, and meagre upgrade paths. But when it comes alive, there's little better.”

    54 The Witcher 3

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    What you said:

    AndCallMeCharlie: “The open world RPG for people who don't like open world RPGs.  Full of charterer and intrigue, it's a masterclass in providing lots of content without overwhelming the player.  Oh and it has the best quests ever as well.”

    hunk: “Another fantastic example of world building, the level of immersion is truly breathtaking. The game takes in game storytelling to new heights. Don't stick to the main narrative, the side quests are equally as entertaining and help flesh the characters out. The DLC is ridiculously expansive. Highly recommended.”

    Frosty: “Took me 114hrs over the course of about a year and a half to get through the Witcher 3 which is far too long. But it’s such an incredible game that it managed to be my game of the year two years running because of that. It managed to pack in so much content into this really beautiful and grubby world that was just fun to roam on your horse. A lot has been said about the Bloody Baron questline which is this rollercoaster of a quest that takes you through all sorts of shades of grey and twists your expectations about who the baron is. There’s not really been storytelling like that in games before and while it doesn’t hit those heights again the main game the DLC campaigns manage to hit it with their smaller scope and tell really incredible stories.”


    In 10th place:

    41 Spelunky HD

    HO2T7PF.jpg

    What I said:

    "The game that’s more responsible than any for kicking off the massive explosion of roguelike games in the last decade. It showed that permadeath and procedurally generated levels could be turned to different genres, not least platforming. It’s still one of the purest and most satisfying realisations of the roguelike formula.

    The building blocks of each area work together so well that every slightly different construction throws up its own particular challenges, invites risks and promises rewards. Sometimes you feel like the layouts conspire against you, giving you nowhere to go, but mostly it’s a case of using your ingenuity and making the most of any respite that comes your way. Mostly when it goes wrong it’s because you got cocky, didn’t pay attention or forgot one of the skills at your disposal.

    And I’m no expert – only completed it once – some people have kept playing for years, improving their performance, getting every ending and secret, or competing in daily challenges. It shows how endlessly interesting and flexible the basic design is. And how perfectly it all works together."


    In 11th place:

    38 The Last Guardian

    NWdYAHi.jpg

    What you said:

    hylian_elf: “And even more feels. I’m one of the lucky ones who managed to download a digital copy that didn’t have any bugs or control issues. Trico is the greatest character created in any game. A friend, a companion, a saviour, so full of life. Going through the game with this creature, you build a bond and by the end, you’re emotionally attached and committed to it. One of the greatest achievements in games. Great world building as only Ueda and his team can do.”

    monkey: “The gameplay isn't up to much but the story and the setting, the way it tells it's tale, the twists and turns. All wonderful. Even something as basic as pressing right to shuffle along a ledge is elevated to be a terrifying tightrope walk as baddies turn up right when you don't need them to, the game constantly flinging you into new situations, as you and catdogbird constantly save each other, all balanced on a precipice at the top of the world, scraping heaven. An incredible experience. Such economy on the story telling as well.”


    In 12th place:

    36 Rocket League

    5V09K4a.jpg

    What you said:

    monkey: “A simple idea perfectly executed. One of those games that is fun immediately but with an almost infinite skill ceiling. Put some people in a room together with this and they will enjoy it.”

    acemuzzy: “What Rocket League does, it does to perfection.  And that thing is: fun.  A minute to learn, a lifetime to master, so the saying goes - well it really is exactly that.  Guaranteed smiles (and likely grimaces) in each KO, yet true depth in its acrobatics and boost-conservation to genuinely warrant repeatedly play.  

    Easy team formation, amicable d-pad taunts, a drip feed of new cars and settings - what's not to like?  A real success for PS+ which gave a springboard to its renown, it's a one-click ticket to cheesy grins.”


    In joint 13th place:

    34 Hotline Miami

    V5wba5e.jpg

    What you said:

    AndCallMeCharlie: “For all it's wonderful packaging (the music, the art design, the lsd soaked story) it's the twitchy, tight gameplay which abides in the memory.  As deliciously ultraviolet as it is compulsive and exhilarating.”

    regmcfly: “Do you get it? Kill, repeat! Hotline Miami is a neon bathed dreamscape, a melange of Miami Vice and Drive, and features likely the best soundtrack ever put to game. The 16-bit aesthetic belies the absolute gruesomeness of the actions you engage in, and the metaquest involving Russian conspiracy theories has you questioning what is real and what is not. Messy, glamourous, gutsy and precise. What a game.”

    Moot_Geeza: “Ferocious top-down murder 'em up that strikes a masterful balance between power and vulnerability.  Formulate your own plan of action to clear each floor, always acutely aware that the tables might turn in a heartbeat, at which point the hunter becomes the prey.  Skin of the teeth gaming at its absolute best; the perpetual peril is astonishing and the stages are mostly designed in a way that allows player strategies to be adjusted as required.  It's a wonderfully satisfying experience with a mesmerising one-hit-kill foundation.  Having possibly the best soundtrack of the decade certainly doesn't hurt either.  [10]”

    stormyskiesahead: “Y'all know.”

    34 Slay the Spire

    YINRjKZ.jpg

    What you said:

    AndCallMeCharlie: “Rogue-likes are one of the biggest developments in single gaming over the last 10 years and no game nails the genre better than Slay the spire.  While some games give an illusion of ‘every run being different’, the fun of Slay the Spire is not in the challenge altering but in the unique synergies you can concoct each and every time.”

    Tempy: “Card games and Roguelikes are no stranger to each other, nor are they genres that would ever be called shallow. Spelunky, The Binding of Isaac, Magic the Gathering and Netrunner are all proof that there is endless depth in decks and item builds, so what better way to create a celebration of both than by fusing them together into a brilliant leviathan of inventivity.

    After a year in early access Slay the Spire released with a surfeit of content (Three characters, daily climbs, 20 difficulty modes, unlockable cards and relics) and then they went and added a fourth character for free who changed everything again.

    It would be easy for them to overegg such a delicious pudding, but Slay the Spire works effortlessly by keeping things concise and simple. Information is clear and readable, combinations always work as expected, and the difficulty comes from your ability to learn and adapt rather than twitch reflexes or arbitrary difficulty spikes. 

    It’s rare that a roguelike or a card based game offers you such a complete toolkit for finishing it from the word go, and it’s even rarer that the challenge of these games is entirely based around learning and growth. I wrote about it with Jon for Kotaku, but I think most of the brilliance of the game can be summed up by the interview I did with a streamer who now plays Slay the Spire as a full time job. It’s an intricate jewel of a game, and every facet is intelligently polished to its limits.”


    In 15th place:

    31 Grand Theft Auto V

    5LOCHQx.jpg

    What you said:

    Djornson: “Surprinsingly rich storyline and deep characters in a technical marvel of a world. The epitome of everything about videogames that gets a bad press and the games we all dreamed of as children.”


    In 16th place:

    30 Destiny 2

    0SlOG7L.jpg

    What you said:

    stormyskiesahead: “Coming back to this after the Forsaken expansion launched was one of the best gaming decisions I've made. The world building, the art direction, the music, the gunplay, the quality and quantity of content - all are of the highest tier. Here's to another 5 years.”

    In 17th place:

    28 Batman: Arkham City

    4TCYIoC.jpg

    What you said:

    hunk: “Batman unleashed from the asylum. The fantastic battle system returns but now with a whole new city to explore and a new batch of crazy Batman villains. The Riddler riddles were a bit obscure but most of the game's challenges are doable. If you liked asylum you will love City.”


    In 18th place:

    26 Red Dead Redemption 2

    e7lLNRT.jpg

    What you said:

    XOMuggins: “I've talked about why this is so special to me a good bit here and in articles I've shared, so let me just say that I have never had a game that did so many things for me at the same time. The story is so incredibly good and for this Western fanatic, the best Western of all time. It also has acted as a form of meditation for me, when my paranoia, anxiety and depression hit. The only open world game to rival this is Breath of the Wild. Secrets and rewards in every corner of the map. Rockstar's greatest work, no doubt in my mind.”


    In joint 19th place:

    25 Yakuza 0

    WkLkXXR.jpg

    What you said:

    Vela: “I first became aware of Yakuza 0 about ~150 hours into BOTW. I had the first game on ps2 but got stuck early on and then distracted by xbox live/pgr2.

    It takes a lot to distract me from the best game I've ever played but Y0 is ridiculously good too. The first impression of the game is a low-fi, non animated text "cut scene" that screams B-grade (read: niche, low budget). Not long after you are fighting in a bathroom of a yakuza hq tower and start to get a taste of the battle system and music.

    I think it's around chapter 6 or 7 when you start to piece together the characters and the story and then comes a very entertaining run through the streets towards a safe house and safety in the sewers.

    Which brings me to the music. Anyone who knows this game and the name Kuze probably still has this track in their head. For those who don't, here is what you are missing.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0Hl9LWEej-I

    I think it's about thirty or forty hours in when you start to play the hostess game (my wife loved this bit) start to amass a healthy property portfolio, beat a couple of shakedown men and see some ridiculous side stories about bdsm, stolen underwear, cults and Mr libido.

    I am neglecting something pretty big here, however. Namely, half the game.

    Majima.

    Goro Majima is the life and soul of this game. His introduction is poetry, his quest is far darker than Kiryu's but his attitude is infectious. "Slow your roll" has become a catchphrase in our home.

    The game is full of memorable characters, Tachibana, Nishikiyama, Kuze and Makoto all-star in some phenomenal set pieces as the story moves towards a truly satisfying climax.

    BOTW and Mario Galaxy 2 were my top 2 in GOTD voting, but this is functionally equivalent.”

    regmcfly: “With Yakuza 0, Team Ryu finally embraced the surreal, the sublime and the ridiculous, enabling full blown homoerotic fan service and side quests that required you to subtly steal porno mags. Wrapped up in the 80s boom aesthetic of Tokyo, it's an homage to Sega's history, the lunacy of the Yakuza series, and also its own beast.”

    hunk: “This game feels like a laser focussed Shenmue with all the fat trimmed and a Yakuza gangsta swapped for the main protagonist. But not just any gangsta, this is one with a heart of pure solid 24k gold and fists of steel. And an incredible sense of humour John Cleese would approve of. Some of the side quests will have you in stitches. Sega at its finest.”

    25 Total War: Warhammer 2

    ZmetV8q.jpg

    What you said:

    Tempy: “Just as Games Workshop were killing of Fantasy Battles in their hobby, they were handing stewardship of the world over to Creative Assembly. What better studio to handle the creation of a rank and file combat game set in a world exquisitely mapped out over timelines and maps? The sidestep from Real World History to Fantasy History suited them just fine, and there was finally a system that captured Warhammer’s grandiose battles in a way that was affordable.

    Legendary Lords lived up to their name as they were able to cut down hundreds of opponents and turn entire tides of battle with a charge or a spell, and magic itself changed the game greatly. Whilst the first Warhammer title was excellent, Warhammer 2 excelled by introducing more exotic factions - the duplicitous Skaven, the stoic Lizardmen, the regal High Elves and the sadistic Dark Elves all battle it out over the Vortex - a conflux of magical power that holds the fate of the Old world in the balance. A more targeted campaign than any of the previous Total War games, it forces you along and keeps you engaged with routine objectives and rivalries. Each faction manages to tweak a handful of core mechanics to feel different to play on both campaign map and battle map; the rapid expansion of the skaven is hampered by a need for food, and on the map they use a surplus of slaves to hold their enemies in place whilst monsters and experimental weaponry rack up the kills, whilst the High Elves engage themselves in internal politicking on Ulthuan and go to war with small numbers of elite infantry that excel at ranged combat.

    Building on the ambition of its predecessor, Warhammer 2 stitched both maps together to create the mind boggling Mortal Empires campaign, and then stuffed its faction select screen full of Legendary Lords who all change their baseline factions. Bored of Dark Elves? Play as Lorkhir Fellheart and raid the coasts of Lustria from your fleet of Black Arks. Tired of grinding away with corruption and slave spam as Skaven? Take Ikit Claw for a spin and build armies of chaotic warmachines that are upgraded from a new laboratory feature which also lets you build nuclear weapons you can drop on armies in battle to delete entire flanks.

    The love of the lore is represented in every feature, from daft quotes to cutting references to events and items, and the best part is that everything added to the game as DLC is free to play against - no need to drop £15 to see what the tomb kings look like in all their dust covered regality, they’ll be knocking at your door in every campaign from now on.

    Whilst it’s a niche case, it really is the best adaptation of any intellectual property I can think of. It takes a slice of fictional history and preserves it in amber, and lets you play out the triumphs and treacheries of the Warhammer world in glorious detail. Games are often called love letters, but rare is an epistle penned as beautifully as this one.”

    GurtTractor: “Total Warhammer 2 is fantastic, one of the games of the decade for sure. Easily the most approachable Total War, good UI design, relatively fast moving strategy and tons of brutal battles. A great reason to get into PC gaming, the visual spectacle is something else.”


    21-30

    Joint 21st
    24           Super Meat Boy
    24           Trials: Evolution

    Joint 23rd
    23           Divinity: Original Sin 2
    What you said:
    Frosty: “Played through this coop with a friend of mine and I couldn’t get enough of it, it’s a hell of a game with a really deep combat system that interacts with the environment in really fun, unexpected ways. There’s also so many branching quests and plot points that I’ve not seen it all despite playing through it twice. I might actually start playing this again tonight…”

    AndCallMeCharlie: “While Tolkienesque / D&D RPGs can be dry, formulaic excursions Divinity 2 avoids such pitfalls with a flourish.  Witty writing, genuinely interesting stories and a fabulous combat system all help but it's the sandpit of abilities allowing you to solve any problem in multiple ways which is such a revelation.  Add in a world where there is a true cause / effect for every action and the result is a truly immersive gaming experience.”

    23           Inside
    What you said:

    trippy: “The sound and art design of Inside are really, really special, perhaps even perfect. The animation is astounding and it's a technological marvel, but it's all in service of the game. There's nothing showy here but it has so many beautiful touches, breathing life into the world. I love that there is no HUD, no tutorial, no overt narrative. It's like playing a fever dream.


    Like all the best games it also has moments of peace and beauty. Sunlight catching the top of the buildings. Chicks milling around your feet. Birds flocking away on approach, then gradually returning if you give them space. Swimming alongside shoals of silvery fish.
    And the ending is incredible.”

    GurtTractor: “A creepy, squishy, crawly, dread-inducing decent into a beautifully designed and rendered world that you just can't look away from. The sound design and soundtrack from that studio is one of my favourites in gaming.”

    25th
    21           The Witness

    Joint 26th
    20           Bayonetta
    20           Super Mario 3D World
    20           Metal Gear Solid V

    Joint 29th
    19           Forza Horizon 2
    19           NaissanceEE


    31-48
    18           Journey
    18           Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
    18           Marvel’s Spider-Man
    17           Dead Space 2
    16           Driveclub
    16           Splatoon 2
    16           Titanfall 2
    16           Vanquish
    15           Mario Kart 8
    15           Uncharted 4
    15           Borderlands 2
    15           Darkest Dungeon
    15           Kingdom Come Deliverance
    15           Noita
    15           Sea of Thieves
    14           No Man's Sky
    13           Animal Crossing New Leaf
    13           Battlefield: Bad Company 2


    49-95
    12           Bioshock infinite
    12           The Blinding of Isaac
    12           Dark Souls 3
    12           Fez
    12           Fire Emblem Awakening
    12           Horizon: Zero Dawn
    12           Infinifactory
    12           Mirror Drop
    12           Rainbow Six: Siege
    12           Red Dead Redemption
    12           Rock Band 2
    12           Rock Band 3
    12           Super Street Fighter IV
    12           Xcom: Enemy Unknown
    11           Minecraft
    11           Xcom 2
    10           Beat Sabre
    10           Mark of the Ninja
    10           Overwatch
    10           Shovel Knight
    10           Xenoblade Chronicles
    10           Ori and the Blind Forest
    9              Halo 5
    9              Into the Breach
    9              Mass Effect 3
    9              Monster Hunter World
    9              Persona 4 Golden
    9              Middle-Earth Shadow of Mordor
    9              Super Smash Bros Ultimate
    9              The Wonderful 101
    9              Space Chem
    9              Stardew Valley
    9              Super Hexagon
    8              Ace Combat 7
    8              Destiny
    8              Doom
    8              Everybody's Golf (Vita)
    8              Invisible Inc
    8              Mortal Kombat 9
    8              Nier Automata
    8              Rime
    8              Skyrim
    8              Sleeping Dogs
    8              Streets of Rogue
    8              Titanfall
    8              Celeste
    8              What Remains of Edith Finch


    96-147
    7              Alien: Isolation
    7              Dead Cells
    7              Dirt Rally
    7              Firewatch
    7              The Golf Club
    7              Just Cause 2
    7              Mario Maker
    7              Obduction
    7              The Outer Wilds
    7              Ratchet and Clank
    7              Thumper
    6              Armello
    6              Hitman
    6              Neo Scavenger
    6              Pikmin 3
    6              Resogun
    6              Super Hot
    6              The Evil Within
    6              The Walking Dead
    6              Torchlight 2
    6              Sekiro
    5              Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
    5              Astro Bot
    5              Cities Skylines
    5              Civilization V
    5              Darksiders
    5              Disco Elysium
    5              Don't Starve Together
    5              Dragon Quest IX
    5              Proteus
    5              Spec Ops: The Line
    5              Uncharted 3
    4              Abzu
    4              Control
    4              Dying Light
    4              Forza Horizon 4
    4              FTL
    4              Halo: Reach
    4              Mad Max
    4              Sin and Punishment 2
    4              Totally Accurate Battle Simulator
    3              Arms
    3              Bastion
    3              Beat Sneak Bandit
    3              Bravely Default
    3              Diablo 3
    3              Far Cry 3
    3              Fire Emblem: Fates
    3              Forza Horizon 3
    3              Life Is Strange
    3              Limbo
    3              Metro 2033
  • EvilRedEye
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    I don't like the emulated games rule. I feel it needs an exception for games first released in Europe this year through emulation (for example, Trials of Mana, Darius for Mega Drive, etc.).
    "ERE's like Mr. Muscle, he loves the things he hates"
  • EvilRedEye wrote:
    I don't like the emulated games rule. I feel it needs an exception for games first released in Europe this year through emulation (for example, Trials of Mana, Darius for Mega Drive, etc.).
    Yeah, that's fine. I only really meant it to cover rereleases. Will clarify.
  • Halo
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • Yossarian
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    Excellent work, but (there had to be a but, obvs and sorry), it’d be great if there was provision for those of us who don’t think quite so hard about ranking games but who’d like to be involved anyway.

    For instance, IIRC, I think I’ve named 8 games in the game of the decade thread, but I’ve not placed them in any order and nor am I likely to.

    By my calculations, there are 55 points available to those who rank games from 1-10. 55/8 = 6.875.

    Is it possible that my 8 games could get 7 (or even 6 if you’d rather just round down to make life easier) points each based on an unordered list?

    Just a thought for those of us less keen on ranking our games.
    Don't prepare for appointment.
  • b0r1s
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    I’d just like to add that 1st Feb 2020 is my birthday so I should get double points or some shit
    SW-2099-8822-2505 - Boris - Goldenisle - Apples
  • Yossarian
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    I cannot be remotely fucked.
    Don't prepare for appointment.
  • b0r1s
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    b0r1s wrote:
    I’d just like to add that 1st Feb 2020 is my birthday so I should get double points or some shit
    Yossarian wrote:
    I cannot be remotely fucked.

    How rude!
    SW-2099-8822-2505 - Boris - Goldenisle - Apples
  • Not even with the power of the cloud?
    I'm still great and you still love it.
  • Yossarian wrote:
    Excellent work, but (there had to be a but, obvs and sorry), it’d be great if there was provision for those of us who don’t think quite so hard about ranking games but who’d like to be involved anyway. For instance, IIRC, I think I’ve named 8 games in the game of the decade thread, but I’ve not placed them in any order and nor am I likely to. By my calculations, there are 55 points available to those who rank games from 1-10. 55/8 = 6.875. Is it possible that my 8 games could get 7 (or even 6 if you’d rather just round down to make life easier) points each based on an unordered list? Just a thought for those of us less keen on ranking our games.
    Just put them in some kind of rough order. It'll take seconds.

    FWIW I won't do scores from 1-10 in GOTD as it weights things too heavily in favour of top votes. I don't think one 1st place vote should be worth ten 10th place votes. Instead I'll probably go from 3-12, so order won't be quite as important.
  • acemuzzy
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    b0r1s wrote:
    I’d just like to add that 1st Feb 2020 is my birthday so I should get double points or some shit

    Well 2nd Feb 2020 is my 40th birthday so fuck you Boris I get quadruple points
  • Game of the Year
    1. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
    An epic game full of wonderful combat and fights, amazing bosses, great audiovisuals that help create a convincing setting and characters and story. Some slight issues with camera in tight spaces and a couple of the bosses can seem tough and frustrating until you realise that it’s you who is shit and you figure it out, but otherwise faultless. [10]

    2. Astral Chain.
    [not quite finished but most of the way there] Slow start but once this got going and you unlock some abilities and skills, the combat is good Platinum stuff as always. The mix of styles is good and works really well. Not the best example of each genre it puts into the mix, but the overall game is far better than the sum of its parts. [9]

    3. Slay the Spire.
    Not my usual type of game. But so many hours spent on this, although nowhere near as much as other Badgers. I’m a bit rubbish to get the most out of it, relying too much on luck maybe, but it hasn’t stopped me from enjoying the game. [9]

    4. Devil May Cry 5.
    A good return to the series and Dante is as great as ever. Nero is also good and his new abilities and toys can be fun to play around with, but V can be a bit tedious and unenjoyable even if at first he seems a good change of pace and tactics. Some great bosses, and mechanics are as sound as ever. Let down by repetitive and dull areas/levels/backgrounds, but that can be forgiven when the fights are so damn good. [8]

    5. Sayonara Wild Hearts.
    Quirky art and music, comes into its own once you’ve learnt the levels and aim for all gold and collectibles, and chasing higher scores. Good use of changing styles and perspectives. [8]

    Best sound design
    1. Sayonara Wild Hearts.
    A fairly well-made sound-based game with nice sound and some good tunes.
    2. Sekiro.
    A great traditional Japanese music soundtrack, and SFX that From seem to do so well.
    3. Astral Chain.
    Purely for some good music.

    Best visual design
    1. Sayonara Wild Hearts.
    Lovely trippy stuff.
    2. Astral Chain.
    Some great visual effects and cartoony looks.
    3. Sekiro.
    Just looks gorgeous.

    Best writing
    1. Sekiro.
    For the story and characters.

    Best character
    1. Genichiro Ashina.
    Cool character and great fights.

    Best ongoing game released before 2019 (anything that received further support, a major expansion/update etc. this year)
    1.

    Best game you played this year that didn't come out this year
    1. Bayonetta 2 (Switch).
    I love me the Platinum brawlers and I could play them once a year forever. Bayo 1 on normal in 2018, Bayo 2 on normal in 2019. Want to go back and do all platinum medals on normal. Maybe. And then get cracking on harder difficulties. Bayo 1 hard mode up next.

    Game of the Decade
    1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
    Whilst at first I was disappointed with the lack of traditional dungeons and what seemed like a samey environment, I soon leaned to love the world and just wandering around and exploring. Losing myself in the world and just living it, taking my time to take every corner of the map in and absorbing my surroundings. It didn’t take that long to become my greatest game and I forgive it’s shortcomings. I could wander around forever. Obviously the actual gameplay is great too. The dungeons are decent, there are some fantastic well-designed and ingenious shrines, plenty of collectibles and secrets and side quests, good combat, and so much scope for improvising and experimenting with the inventory and play mechanics. It helps that it’s also and absolutely beautiful game in both sound and visuals. All this makes the overall package the best game ever.

    2. Super Mario Galaxy 2.
    The level designs and the ingenious use of the gravity mechanics make this technically the best Mario game, although I like the original better cos of impact and the hub (I love a good hub). Recently the kids started watching some gameplay videos of the Galaxy games which just reminded me how great these were and how Odyssey was a bit disappointing.

    3. Journey.
    The greatest two hours of my gaming life. Journey is different things to different people, including being the worst thing for some, but it deeply resonated with me. That ending / credits section with the accompanying song is possibly my greatest gaming experience ever. Never been so happy to just press and hold up to win.

    4. Persona 4: The Golden.
    Where to start? One of the greatest soundtracks ever, a great setting (I do love me some Japan), and a great whodunnit story with the great and bizarre characters and friendship building and relationships and all the different world religion and cult and fantasy lores in the personas and the dungeons and battles and stuff. By the end of the game I actually got quite attached to the characters and that tipped it into GoaT status even more for me.

    5. NieR Automata.
    The battle mechanics are functional at least and can be good if you delve deep enough, but never really tested except one or two fights. But it’s the dystopian world and setting, the amazing OST, and the shifting play styles that all work together and make the game such a great experience. Then you have the twisting and turning narrative and the way it all fucks with your head. I don’t tend to use the word subversive much, but this is it. So much feels too, which is always a plus. Glory to Mankind!

    6. The Last Guardian.
    And even more feels. I’m one of the lucky ones who managed to download a digital copy that didn’t have any bugs or control issues. Trico is the greatest character created in any game. A friend, a companion, a saviour, so full of life. Going through the game with this creature, you build a bond and by the end, you’re emotionally attached and committed to it. One of the greatest achievements in games. Great world building as only Ueda and his team can do.

    7. Bloodborne.
    My favourite of the (recent) From games, due mainly to the faster and more polished battle mechanics and a dark non-fantasy setting, and fewer weapons and items and bloat than the Souls games. Some of the best bosses and fights around, and a real challenge, and that together with the lore and atmosphere makes this an utterly unforgettable game.

    8. Bayonetta.
    Jan 2010 U.K. release!!! Tone and weirdness be damned, this is still the pinnacle of the genre. So much depth to the mechanics and gameplay, it makes Mariana jealous. I could plunge hours and hours endlessly to this game.

    9. Hollow Knight.
    Finally, Super Metroid has a challenger (but not quite there). It only took 25 years to so. Oodles of atmosphere, an intriguing set of weird and wonderful characters, plenty of dark lore. But it’s the sprawling map and how you slowly unravel the world with new abilities, the joy in wandering around, finding secrets, going back to previously inaccessible paths, the satisfying and precise controls and combat: a perfect mix, so polished, and all works so well together.

    10. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
    See earlier.


    Not in due to limit on one per series otherwise would be there:

    Dark Souls
    Zelda: Skyward Sword

    Almost/could’ve made it:

    The Last of Us
    Into The Breach
    Tetris Effect
    God of War
    Halo Reach

    God dang it I would’ve liked to play/finish:

    RDR 1&2
    Portal 2
    Mass Effect 2
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • For GotY, so far my list is:

    Sekiro
    Slay The Spire
    DMC5

    Still playing/might play:

    Astral Chain
    Sayonara Wild Hearts
    Untitled Goose Game
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • b0r1s
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    acemuzzy wrote:
    b0r1s wrote:
    I’d just like to add that 1st Feb 2020 is my birthday so I should get double points or some shit

    Well 2nd Feb 2020 is my 40th birthday so fuck you Boris I get quadruple points

    40? 40?? Pah! I was 40 when you were still in nappies.
    SW-2099-8822-2505 - Boris - Goldenisle - Apples
  • So you turned 40 recently too then?
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • b0r1s
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    Bad-dum!

    Yep ;-)
    SW-2099-8822-2505 - Boris - Goldenisle - Apples
  • NB.  I don't seem to be able to 'unbold' the text for Shovel Knight and Outer Wilds and I'm fed up with trying.  

    1. Heave Ho!

    Madcap same room cooperative multiplayer game that exploits its core mechanic flawlessly.  Each player controls the arms and hands of a...face with arms and hands.  The analogue stick stretches/flails both arms around in any given direction, the left trigger clutches onto surfaces with the left hand, the right trigger grabs hold with the right.  From there it's all about manipulating the character by any means necessary to reach the goal.  If you're holding the correct button as your hand brushes a surface, it sticks regardless of momentum.  Swing, fling and climb your way to victory, either while assisting or hindering other players, shouting encouragement at each other and/or screaming at the ceiling in frustration.  Once one player reaches the goal they can call a balloon for the other players.  Take ten minutes to finish a stage and you'll be assisted in some way by additional poles.   Because of the amount of consistent fun we all had with it each and every session every session, plus the fact that it retails for less than a tenner full price, I'm going all the way to [10] with this if played with three or more players.  Most definitely GotY 2019 for me.  I can't believe how good it is, and how good my 5yr old daughter is at it, was an absolute joy to play through with her and Mrs. Geeza even got involved here and there.  An absolute hoot, I don't think I've had this much fun with same room mp since Monkey Target (and I LOVE Nidhogg & Towerfall Ascension). 



    2. Supermarket Shriek

    More than just a pleasant surprise, this was one of the best games I've played this year.  The rather odd premise is as follows: You control a man and a goat sitting in a shopping trolley, and movement is entirely governed by shrieking.  The analogue triggers make your characters scream, which rotates the trolley either left or right, and holding both triggers makes the cart go forward.  That's it, and it's one of the most perfect, pure gaming control schemes in recent memory.  With practice you could get obscenely good at this game, would love a forum comp but I'd presumably have to pay anyone to play it.  Hey ho.  Your job is to guide the trolley through pun-laden supermarket obstacle courses in as brief a time as possible.  Occasionally you'll have to collect items en route to the goal, or win a head-to-head, or smash cans of baked beans to maximise your score, but it's mostly just a question of whether or not you can make it to the end.  

    Progression is gated behind an overly strict star system.  Between one and three stars are dished out for a successful run, you'll pretty much need two or more on every stage in order to see the late game, and some of the three star requirements are damn tricky.  It's a tough game, extremely so in places, but I'm glad I pushed through.  I can hurtle through the earlier stages now, thanks to the superb handling model and the fact that the game demands constant improvement for success.  Forget o0o Ascension Muzzy, this is a far better game.  [9]



    3. Lonely Mountains Downhill

    A late surge for game of the year.  In many ways it shares similarities with Supermarket Shriek, which it narrowly failed to leapfrog on this list.  It can be played as high concentration burst gaming, and it requires/expects the player to improve constantly.  For such a simple game - guide your bicycle to the bottom of a long descent without falling off it - there's a lot going on.  It's part part checkpoint progress/route learn frustrate 'em up, but it can also be a wonderfully serene and laid back affair. The way it incorporates non game breaking elements of DIY route finding push it over the line into extra special territory.  It's a fine game if you stick to the beaten track, but it becomes brilliant once you dare to venture off it.  Shortcuts are essential if you're chasing anyone's time, and they're of a far more free-form nature than in something as ultra designed as Trials.  In that you'd plot your precise route and look for ways to shave tenths of seconds off here and there (or 'cheat', by watching and mimicking top ghosts), but there's far more scope for improvisation in this.  Chuck your bike off a ledge in the right place and you might hit terra firma at an angle and speed that doesn't bounce you off, shaving 12 seconds off a run (see gif).  And if you miss it by inches, the likelihood is you'll want to try it again.  It's not as clinical as the 'this is the shortcut' feel of, say, Mario Kart 8.  I haven't checked to see if this has leaderboard ghosts yet, but I'd hope it doesn't; local seems enough to keep things interesting.      The pastel visuals and throwback flat shaded character models are great, and although it chugs in places on the busier mountains it's a mostly smooth experience.  It's tricky, but the requirements to unlock all areas aren't particularly tough.  I did like the way it absolutely required an off-piste approach to the speed runs towards the end though.  Super stuff. [9] 



    4. Shovel Knight: King of Cards

    The journey is over.  It's no secret that I love the original game (it's a straight [10] for me), and the first two DLC campaigns were a mixed bag well worth delving into.  The final freebie is easily the best of the additional quests; King's barge into twist move works far better than the core mechanics of either Plague or Spectre, and the levels built around these moves are superb.  It felt intuitive from the get go and it packs a ton of variety into its stages, plus almost all of the magic items are worth either using regularly or messing around with.  There's an emphasis on secret exits to the stages this time, most of which only contain a single restart point.  It's one of the easier campaigns, mainly thanks to the liberal dishing out of hearts and manual health boost perk, which allows bosses to be bruted a bit more than previous entries, but also because the bubble move is a bit of a get-out-of-jail card.  In addition to the platforming there's a pretty enjoyable card game chucked in the mix too.  Not my sort of thing as a rule, but it won me over as the campaign progressed and I ended up really enjoying the single move puzzles in particular.   The ending to this one is super stronk and as usual the post game challenge mode is great fun.  The quest is probably the longest too, roughly on par with Shovel Knight and weighing in close to 10hrs if you're not actively avoiding secrets.  A fitting swansong for my favourite platformer of all time.  I loved it.  [9]



    5. The Outer Wilds

    Not to be confused with The Outer Worlds, despite the fact that it looks like both sets of developers did precisely that when naming their wares.  A truly remarkable gaming experience that deserves to be pushed into the limelight when the end of year lists appear.  Part of the reason I'm typing this in my pants at home is the fact that I was up playing it at 3am and I've ended up chucking a good old fashioned sickie.  

    Taking elements of the narrative FPS types (I'm fed up with referring to them as 'walking sims'), Majora's Mask and No Man's Sky, it's a laid back intergalactic episode of Treasure Hunt where information gradually gleaned through exploration is key to unravelling the mysteries of the solar system.  I've admired NMS from afar, but I'd rather inhale infinite helmetfulls of specefarts than actually participate in its proc gen quintillion worlds shtick.  Despite having no desire to play it, it's one of those games that makes me wish I wasn't me so I'd have a chance of enjoying it, y'know?  Enter The Outer Wilds, which is meticulously designed to within an inch of its life.  It only contains a handful of planets, each of which contains pertinent information that can be discovered in an order decided by the player.  The information gradually makes sense of the interplanetary goings on and will eventually guide you toward the endgame.  Here's the rub: playtime exists in a 22-minute loop, where everything you've interacted with resets once the sun goes supernova.  The ship's log acts as Guy Pearce's chest, thankfully, so every tidbit you discover is locked into your on-board computer.  There's very little hand holding so it was more than a little overwhelming for me at first, given that I usually focus on games that could be labelled 'Action' on the corner of a Master System cart.  The controls keep it grounded to an extent; it's a game I enjoyed playing but the fundamentals aren't much cop - it's a first person narrative type with added manoeuvrability, so the mechanics won't win prizes - but that's not why you'll take this particular trip and it's all fit for purpose.  

    I don't want to reveal any more of its workings and intricacies as discovery is key to the experience, but at the same time I feel like a few paragraphs doesn't bang the drum enough.  Top tier indie gaming, credits have rolled and it's still in my head [8]. o/ @FranticPea



    And some more while I'm here:

    6. Untitled Goose Game [8]
    7. FutureGrind [8]
    8. Blood & Truth
    9. Cadence of Hyrule [8]
    10. Katana Zero [8]
    11. Ape Out [8]
    12. Trials Rising [8]*
    13. Blazing Chrome [8]

    *Grindiness kills it, could've been top 3 as the tracks are there.[/spoiler]

    Best sound Design

    1. Ape Out



    2. The Outer Wilds



    3. Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the Necrodancer



    Best visual Design

    1. Katana Zero

    ec5ab053040c574399cbabb727aeb085.gif

    2. Ape Out

    SafeSafeHarborseal-size_restricted.gif

    3. Gato Roboto

    ezgif.com-crop.gif

    Best writing

    1. The Outer Wilds
    2. Katana Zero
    3.

    Best character

    1. The Goose (the GOAT)






    2. The Ape
    3. The Goat

    Best ongoing game released before 2019 (anything that received further support, a major expansion/update etc. this year)

    1. Mario Tennis Aces

    Best game you played this year that didn't come out this year

    1. Statik (PSVR)

    (apologies to Monster Boy)

    Most disappointing game.

    1. Creature in the Well. 

    Pretty good really, but that wasn't what I was after. Pinball Furi should've been an [8] or above. 

    2. Trials Rising 

    It's the front end that sucked, the game is still superb. The progression system didn't need to be messed around with and the changes turned what should have been a near perfect game into a chore. Easily my most played game this year across two consoles but the annoyances are enough for it to get a mention. 

    3. Baba is You 

    Was disappointed I didn't like it, but I'm sure it's great for galaxy brains.

    Game of the Decade

    1. Trials Evolution
    2. Hollow Knight
    3. Shovel Knight
    4. Super Meat Boy
    5. Hotline Miami
    6. Fire Emblem Awakening
    7. Mario 3D World
    8. Astro Bot
    9. Ori in the Blind Forest
    10. Fez
    Joustus is served.
  • Wtf is supermarket shriek really
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • acemuzzy
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    It's really not GotY
  • Might give it a go in Waitrose later but could get chucked out by security I guess
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • regmcfly
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    Desperate to do other parts and write them up, but can't really until 3 other games get released this year.
  • hylian_elf wrote:
    Wtf is supermarket shriek really

    It's unlikely to be everyone's cup of tea.

    Joustus is served.
  • Ape out. Love it.
    I'm still great and you still love it.
  • I thought something like visual design would be an easy one, but looking at what I've played there are plenty of contenders, with quite a few I still haven't played yet.

    Katana Zero
    Sekiro
    A Plague Tale: Innocence
    Resident Evil 2
    Astral Chain 
    Sayonara Wild Hearts
    Zelda: Link's Awakening
  • regmcfly
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    It's the bottom two.
  • That pixel art on KZ really is something though. And the lighting and environment detail in Plague Tale.
  • Does the animation of goose game feed into “visual design”
  • acemuzzy
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    I'm not sure I can enter all the categories, but here's goty link ftr

    http://thebearandbadger.co.uk/discussion/comment/1661386#Comment_1661386

    And games I've finished, where I don't think any are 2019 releases... http://thebearandbadger.co.uk/post/quote/2275/Comment_1555241

    Ones I've played a chunk of:
    - Sekiro

    Ones I might play a chunk of:
    - Goose game
    - A Plague Take
    - Ape Out
    - Gears 5
    - FutureGrind
    - The Outer Wilds
    - DmC 5
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